Genre: Action, Comedy
Summary: The series follows Koko Hekmatyar, a young arms dealer who sells weapons under HCLI, an international shipping corporation that secretly deals in the arms trade. As one of the company’s unofficial weapon dealers, she secretly sells weapons in many countries while avoiding the local authorities and law enforcement as most of her work is actually illegal under international law. Traveling with her is her team of bodyguards who are mostly composed of ex-military veterans. Her latest addition to her crew is Jonah, a seemingly emotionless child soldier who is skilled in combat yet ironically hates arms dealers. Jonah joins Koko as he wishes to find the arms dealer responsible for his family’s death. What follows is Koko and her crew’s escapades around the world.
Review: For this review I’ll also be including Last Order because it was a direct continuation. Many people compared this anime to Black Lagoon because of it’s similar setting of war and government working in the shadows as a small team of elite fights band together doing odd jobs for money. However, Jormungand goes a little more in depth with story at times and has a more established story. Koko, the young and famous arms dealer, set her eyes on a child soldier who soon became her personal favorite. It seemed strange at first because of how morally wrong a child soldier can be. The anime did mention multiple times that Koko was insane for stooping so low as to bring a child into the battlefield, but as time passed it became apparent that Jonah wasn’t just a kid anymore.
The art for Jormungand wasn’t my favorite and probably the area which I found most lacking. It was good that they didn’t follow a standard art style, but the character models and scenery weren’t always the best. It did a good job keeping the scenery fresh with different environments from scolding deserts to a frozen wasteland. It was neat seeing combat strategies compliment the environment. Jormungand introduced both tactical and overpowering victories. Sadly I couldn’t get into the combat as much as I would have hoped because the characters stood out a lot from the backgrounds. Theirs faces specifically had a strange mix of round and sharp. I read a bit of the manga and I would say that I liked the anime art style a little more and can’t blame them for keeping roughly the same look. I feel that this probably hurt the anime overall though. There were a still a lot of great scenes and action shots that would make anyone excited. Although the art wasn’t the greatest, the anime easily made up for it with the story.
Jormungand has a great mix of character development, action, and plot. Throughout the series Koko’s crew were assigned seemingly odd jobs that were completely unrelated. You soon learned that everything in the world was connected; something happening in the United States effected Indonesia. The story soon turned into a web of lies and deceit among nations. It kept me coming back week after week to see how Koko dealt with her advisories using her brilliance. While the story was fascinating it was also rather difficult to follow. Although it was an action anime, it had a lot of dialogue which could be hard to follow for some. I know that I had to watch a few episodes two or three times to catch up to the story. Thankfully I didn’t mind because the characters were amazing and really why I found this anime to be so entertaining. The first season did a pretty good job bringing the characters out and giving a little background to Jonah. It wasn’t until the second season when you actually got to see the full backgrounds of most of the crew. This is the biggest reason I preferred the second to the first. The characters are what made this anime because it made you actually care about the cast. Jormungand didn’t just use backstory to entertain either. Small quips and jabs between crew members gave a good relief of comedy between action and story. It kind of gave a humane feeling among killers because let’s be honest I’m sure most of us can’t relate to a professional assassin.
The soundtrack for Jormungand was probably my favorite of Fall 2012. The opening by Mami Kawada was amazing. If you haven’t checked it out I suggest doing that soon. The second opening, Under/Shaft by Maon Kurosaki, was also very well done. It had a similar sounds and I was actually surprised to learn it wasn’t by Mami Kawada. However, the OST that took the cake was actually a rap that they played at the end of the anime, Time to Attack by Santa. It was also inserted into the anime as background music and made everything more epic. It was a good change from the hard rock or metal you generally hear to pump someone up for a battle.
Final statements: Although the ending to the second season doesn’t leave much for a sequel, I would love to see a season three. I think the manga continued past the latest arc so I might check that one out. If anything I hope they come out with a couple OVAs because Koko has become one of my favorite characters in an anime. This action, comedy anime is a high priority watch for any fans of strong characters and government secrets.